The energy sector is undergoing substantial transition with the integration of variable renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy. These sources come with hourly, daily, seasonal and yearly variations; raising the need for short and long-term energy storage technologies to guarantee the smooth and secure supply of electricity. This paper critically reviews the existing types of pumped-hydro storage plants, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each configuration. We propose some innovative arrangements for pumped-hydro storage, which increases the possibility to find suitable locations for building large-scale reservoirs for long-term energy and water storage. Some of the proposed arrangements are compared in a case study for the upper Zambezi water basin, which has considerable water storage limitations due to its flat topography and arid climate. Results demonstrate that the proposed combined short and long-term cycles pumped-storage arrangement could be a viable solution for energy storage and reduce the cost for water storage to near zero.